Crimson Peak (15)

Emma Allsopp reviews Guillermo del Toro's new gothic romance, Crimson Peak.

26th October 2015

Guillermo del Toro is back with a new film, this time it is a gothic romance, but in his true style there is more gothic than romance.  Just in time for Halloween, we are gifted with a complex ghost story.

It follows Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), a budding writer who also has the ability to see the dead, as she falls for and marries the mysterious Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston).  She moves to dilapidated mansion in Cumberland, England which he also shared with his rather morbid sister, Lady Lucille Sharpe (Jessica Chastain).

Chastain mesmerises as the dark and complicated Lucille.  This role sees her enter a dark and morose psyche which has you at some points feeling suspicious of her and at others feeling intense empathy.  Wasikowska and Hiddleston portray the leads with great success.  Their whirlwind romance has you gripped to the screen for the full two hour running time.

"The gothic romance is inherently melodramatic, but del Toro executes it perfectly"

A major strong point on this film is its use of melodrama.  The gothic romance is inherently melodramatic, but del Toro executes it perfectly so that it is not overdone, rather it leaves you wanting more. Another highlight of this film is its liberal use of practical effects. All of the sets were hand-crafted and there is not an overreliance on CGI.  This juxtaposes against the fantastical elements of the story with great success.

One of the extremely few flaws in this film is that it could be slightly predictable in parts if you are well versed in the folklore on which it is based, but even then it is still a wonderful piece of cinema that keeps you in the dark for much of its running time.

Crimson Peak is a feat of cinema once again from the ridiculously talented Guillermo del Toro.  With a move back to the style of his Spanish language films such as Pan’s Labyrinth, this surely does not disappoint.

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